By Bobby La Gesse
Wrestling isn’t just part of Adam Pavlenko’s life. It’s ingrained in who he is. It’s what his family does, from his dad to his brother to him.
Some of his earliest memories are from when he started wrestling at age four.
“Wrestling is big for us,” Pavlenko said.
Pavlenko, an accomplished amateur wrestler out of Marcos De Niza (Ariz.) High School, believes his wrestling background will help him as an Iowa State linebacker. Pavlenko, a 2012 recruit, verbally committed to the Cyclones over the weekend.
“Wrestling makes you mentally tough,” Pavlenko said. “There can be a big grind in football, and you pull out of it because you’ve been through hell because wrestling is that hard.
“You have to go and train at a level other sports don’t approach. You have to push yourself to a different level.”
ISU has now landed two accomplished wrestling linebackers in the last month. Kane Seeley, from Perry, committed in mid-July. He went 47-0 last season and won the Class 2A state title at 215 pounds.
Pavlenko’s earned All-American honors at the 215-pound weight class, qualified for state every year of high school and won the state championships in Greco and freestyle wrestling “numerous times.”
He said the physicality of wrestling helps on the football field, and moves like double leg takedowns help with tackling and hand contact. It also helps with conditioning.
“When wrestling season is over and I go to football, it’s easy and comes to you pretty easy,” Pavlenko said. “You get more out of it, because you are in better shape from wrestling.”
He recorded 133 tackles last season and is a Rivals.com three-star prospect.
Pavlenko said he would consider wrestling at ISU, but added he wants to concentrate on football.
“Maybe in the offseason I would go in two or three times a week and stay in shape, but that all depends on the coaches” Pavlenko said.
At a minimum, he would like to wrestle Seeley at some point in the offseason.
“By then, I bet we’ll know each other real good,” Pavlenko said. “I imagine it would be pretty fun.”